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The National Organization for Women (NOW) and other women advocacy groups have filed suit against the Bush Administration seeking to abolish Fathers Day. During a press conference held after the filing of the lawsuit, Kim Gandy of NOW said, "the day clearly indicates that it is meant to recognize only fathers."
The American Civil Liberties Union, filing on behalf of the organizations said the day runs afoul of equal protection and Title IX provisions and should be abolished because it is discriminatory against women. "It is time to move beyond the pattern male discrimination against women so prevalent in the home and the workplace," according to a press release.
It wasn't solely the discriminatory aspects of Fathers Day that had the groups aroused, but the fact that Fathers are chiefly responsible for domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse, and are often negligent of their children. Many fail to make their child support payments in a timely fashion, if they make them at all. This has many women's groups wondering what is commendable about fathers that should give them a day to celebrate them. Prof. Hrdy in a recent TIME Magazine article showed that at best fathers only spend about 30 minutes a day with their children.
The Chicago Federation of Women is running a campaign, "What Will It Take", to recruit men to admit their fault in domestic abuse and accept a pattern of reparations. Gandy again cited the culture of support for domestic violence among men that has outlets across talk radio, such as Rush Limbaugh, who encourages violence against women.
Andrea Dworkin, in speaking on the lawsuit, said "Marriage as an institution developed from rape as a practice," and that there is nothing to celebrate simply because a rape resulted in childbirth. Dworkin said, if anything, people should be mourning the great harm done to women at the hands of men on Fathers Day.
Other women's groups focused less on the history of violence of men and their failure to parent their children but instead focused on women's rights. "It's her body and her choice, the right of women to choose motherhood is solely and exclusively hers. After donating his genetic material, the only contribution necessary from men is to mail their child support payments on time," according to Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards.
The lawsuit was met with outcries from men's rights groups and family organizations who attempted to file an amicus brief with the court which was rejected almost immediately. The opinion of the court was that such groups were not entitled to voice their views because they violated the separation of church and state "which is the source of the patriarchal attitudes which they seek to defend."
The Bush Administration was unavailable for comment.
John Bambenek is the Assistant Politics Editor for BC Magazine and is an academic professional for the University of Illinois. By trade, he is an information security professional, part of the Internet Storm Center and a courseware author and certification grader for the GIAC family of security certifications. He is a syndicated columnist who blogs at Part-Time Pundit and the executive director of The Tumaini Foundation which helps AIDS orphans and other children in Tanzania to get an education. He is the current owner of BlogSoldiers, a blog-only traffic exchange.